Let me start off by making it clear: I stand with those who want Justice for George Floyd, the black man in Minneapolis who was killed by a police officer who held his knee to Floyd's neck for several minutes.
But when I saw the protesters outside the Billings Police Department headquarters over the weekend, I couldn't help but think- what in the world does the Billings Police Department have to do with the shameful actions of a police officer in Minnesota?
Mark Cady recently retired as a lieutenant from the Billings Police Department after serving for nearly 30 years. He nearly gave his own life in service to his city when he was seriously wounded on the job. The location of Saturday's protest didn't sit well with him either. He penned the following open letter via social media in response. It is shared here in full with permission.
Open letter shared via social media from retired Billings Police Lieutenant Mark Cady:
I drove by the Billings Police Department today and saw a group of protestors outside yelling "No justice, No peace, prosecute the police" I had to laugh and wondered,
Are you protesting something the BPD has done? If so is it
The BPD command staff that tolerates ZERO racism, excessive use of force and takes all complaints seriously?
The months of extra training that all BPD officers go through after the basic academy to ensure they are completely prepared to help you in your crisis?
The cameras and recorders that all officers wear for your safety?
The use of force review that requires three levels of review on EVERY use of force?
The strong discipline policies and the written discipline manual that the same commanders follow?
The constant training and legal updates that every officer is required to attend each year?
Maybe the Blue Line that he officers are so proud of that isn't afraid to turn in a "bad Cop"?
Is it the one third of Officer hire that are washed out during the Field Training program because they aren't able to meet BPD standards?
Is it the officers and their families that are emergency foster parents, that take abused, neglected children into their own homes because you aren't able to care from them?
Is it the officers that take money out of their own pockets to feed families that are in desperate need and then don't brag about it?
Is it the Officers that after they are off shift coach your kids, are a Big Brother or Sister, or maybe the ones that teach religious ed at their church?
You didn't know about these things? I'm not surprised, you are doing exactly what you are accusing them of doing, you are judging them by their color, of their uniform, and stereotyping them by what you see in the news from other places.
Please take time to thank God that you live in Billings Montana, where Cops are trained to be problem solvers. It is a unique profession, every call you go to someone is going to be upset with the decision you make and will blame your decision on racism, bad training, or some other reason instead of looking in the mirror and saying "I'm part f the problem when I should be part of the solution."
Take the colored glasses off as you expect the cops to do and see them as a person, not someone in blue.
Take a chance and try treating them with dignity and see what you get in return.
Try to see the person behind the badge, you might be pleasantly surprised at how the events turn out instead of showing them how big of chip you can carry on your shoulder.
Thank them for the job they do for you in Billings instead of protesting something they had nothing to do with in another state.
Educate yourself, you will find out there is nothing a good cop hates more that a bad cop.